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locust surge attack in India, News

locust surge posing a threat to agriculture in India? 


India is gearing up for what could be one of its worst locust invasions in decades. Outbreaks of the insect attack have been reported from Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. On Thursday, May 28, the Delhi government issued an advisory to farmers to spray pesticides and keep a possible attack at bay. Last year, Gujarat and Rajasthan had reported infestation But it could be worse this worse this year because of a chain of climate events, administrative laxity in several countries and the difficult circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts have warned of huge crop losses if the swarms are not stopped by June when the monsoons will lead to a new season of sowing rice, sugarcane, cotton and other crops. 

What do locusts eat and how it is affected on agriculture.  

Locusts eat plant material. They are a problem because swarming locusts
will strip an area of its vegetation including the crops.
Locusts very often live singly or in small groups, sometimes the numbers
build up and they can do a great deal of damage to the crops. Although
the young hoppers can’t fly, they still march in bands, eating the crops in
their path. They march during the day, moving about a km a day, and rest
at night in plants and shrubs. They moult and grow until they become
adults. Then they start to fly and move in a vast swarm. A single swarm
may contain ten thousand million locusts and cover an area larger than
greater London. Swarming adult locusts can fly 80km a day and they
may travel several 1,000km before they settle to breed.

How can we stop the locusts eating our crops?

Farmers used to try to drive away the locusts by lighting fires. They also dug
up the eggs. Now crops can be sprayed with insecticides from vehicles or
aeroplanes. Scientists are trying to improve the control of locusts, by
preventing or dispersing swarms. Farmers and scientists also link to try to
predict when a swarm will appear, so that controls can be introduced
earlier.
We can also use fungal pathogens to control grasshoppers and locusts, this
is called biological control. The fungal pathogens can be sprayed onto the
locusts. Locusts can also be attacked by parasites that develop inside the locust or their eggs. 

Way to pridict the  locust  movement 

The recent locust outbreak along the India-Pakistan border may have been driven by the longer-than-usual monsoon across the region, and frequent cyclones in the Indian Ocean, scientists say.

“The current locust outbreak is the biggest in 25 years in Ethiopia and Somalia, 26 years in India, 70 years in Kenya,” Keith Cressman, locust forecasting officer at FAO told PTI.

“The outbreak started after heavy amounts of rains over east Africa and the Arabian Peninsula,” Roxy Mathew Koll, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) in Pune added.

Heavy rain triggers the growth of vegetation in arid areas where desert locusts can then grow and breed,”
 

Indian ocean dipole 

The main cause of the locust movement  is their  favorable  condition , to breed which is heavy rainfall and humid climate, India ocean dipole is the cause to outbreak locust  movement  toward India at the west side. 
This diagram shows the motion of humidity towards west of India because  of temperature differences occur in them cause heavey rainfall in west of India. 


Also read  and click- Locust in Pakistan 
Also read - India china border dispute 

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